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Chapter 1. Introduction > The Right Stuff... - Pg. 23

MAKE: PROJECTS Eccentric Cubicle lengths are prone to warping. Appearance varies, but can turn into a "50s rec room" knotty pine horror with alarming ease. Uses: Framing, internal support structure, jigs and fixtures, test cuts. Hardwood (Maple, birch, oak, walnut, countless other species) Advantages: Hard, resilient, Looks like real wood because it is. Comes in a mind-blowing array of colours, grain structures and resiliency. Disadvantages: Expensive, tougher to work with than softwood. Proper finishing can be a righteous pain in the ass. Uses: Personally, just about everywhere. Maple is my go-to material for a lot of stress-bearing components, and I'm not just saying that because I'm Canadian. Brass Advantages: Easy to work with, resilient, widely available in Disadvantages: Some alloys have brittleness issues; cast pieces in particular can shatter under impact. Corrodes easily and unattractively. Not easy to weld. Won't hold an edge. Uses: Just about everything. It's a versatile material to begin with, and the enormous range of preformed shapes you encounter at scrap yards makes it damned inspirational. an inspirational variety of form factors. Learning how to look at plumbing fittings and not see "just plumbing fittings" is absolutely epiphanous. Thermally and electrically conductive. Stainless steel Advantages: Strong, corrosion resistant, most alloys are nonmagnetic. Weldable. Holds an edge while still being readily sharpenable. Disadvantages: Difficult to work with. It's a tough but prissy metal: a challenge to weld, discolours under excessive heat, beats the shit out of your tools. Requires skill and finesse to do it justice. Uses: Limited from a general-purpose fabrication standpoint. Use where its particular material properties are needed, or if you find a component preformed that will repurpose easily. Generally a pain in the ass.